With Thanksgiving in two weeks, families are making vacation plans. While some share Thanksgiving dinner with their household, others are hoping to travel out of the state to be with friends and loved ones.
In the pre-pandemic world, most likely haven’t thought twice about flying long distances on vacation. But in 2020, many decided not to fly, but to travel by car – which presents its own challenges.
Air travel is complicated
When you travel by plane, you run the risk of being in close proximity to strangers, both at the airport and on the plane. Other people are handling your baggage, and you may be sitting next to someone who hasn’t taken pandemic precautions. Although airlines have policies in place to fight the virus, you have other options: There’s always a road trip.
But road trips can also be a bit complicated. Many states enacted travel regulations when the coronavirus was spreading at dangerous speeds. Some have since revised them. Keeping up with these changes can serve you well.
Travel is restricted
- If you want to travel on vacation, ask the following questions:
- How many positive cases of Covid-19 cases have recently been reported in your home region and destination?
- Are you or anyone in your household at increased risk of serious illness because of their age, health issues, or recent exposure to someone with Covid-19?
- Does your goal have any limitations?
For example, New York recently eased its mandatory 14-day quarantine for people from another, unrelated state. Now only bordering states are Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Connecticut, Massachusetts and Vermont.
Under the new rules, you must still take a Covid-19 test within three days of leaving your home state before arriving in New York. You must be quarantined for three days after your arrival and have another Covid-19 test on the fourth day. If both tests are negative, you can end the quarantine.
If you’ve been out of New York State for less than 24 hours, you don’t need to be tested or quarantined before your return. However, you must take a test four days after you arrive in New York.
Travelers from states bordering New York, as well as all major workers, are free to travel between states, but must complete a Traveler Health Form.
New York City itself has checkpoints operated by its sheriff’s office to enforce the quarantine. Travelers arriving at LaGuardia and JFK airports must complete contact tracing forms and consent to quarantine. New York Governor Andrew Cuomo has fined $ 2,000 for those who fail to fill out the form.
The states that have travel restrictions as of November 3 are Alaska, Connecticut, Hawaii, Kansas, Kentucky, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, and Vermont.
As of November 11, the states with over 100,000 cases in the past seven days include North and South Dakota, Iowa, Wyoming, Wisconsin, and Nebraska.
The AAA travel outlook
Today the Club Alliance AAA released its travel forecast for Thanksgiving Holidays 2020. AAA expects travel to decrease by around 10%. Up to 50 million Americans are expected to travel for Thanksgiving, down from 55 million in 2019.
If money is a little tight, here’s some news that will help Thanksgiving roadsters: Gasoline prices will be around 50 cents cheaper than last November. This October saw the lowest gas prices on average in more than 15 years.
AAA and CDC advise travelers to plan ahead. Pack meals and snacks and limit the number of times you accelerate as you run the risk of coming into contact with frequently touched surfaces and other people. The CDC has published travel guidelines. Most importantly, the CDC is reminding everyone to wear face masks and wash hands. A face mask is especially recommended if you are traveling by public transport.
Packing an emergency tool kit by the roadside is also a good idea. Make sure you have hand sanitizer and masks when you are in a public setting. Wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds after using the toilet and leaving a public place. Consider bringing disinfectant wipes for use at gas pumps.
Samantha Lucero is studying nursing at Drexel University.